"Dad's Home... :)" Ed and the Normalization of Abuse

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"Dad's Home... :)" Ed and the Normalization of Abuse

Post  CyanideFilledCandy on Wed 24 Dec - 16:32

(I posted this on Tumblr, but I figured I might as well have posted it here as well.)

"A shriek of terror!"
"DAD'S HOME!"


So, that line REALLY got me thinking. Yes, it could just be random Ed being random, but even though he's smiling, he has that excitement circle in his eye that the characters get when they're excited, scared, or even slightly insane. (I think of it more as a madness circle personally. :P) (Also, rewatching the scene just now, his voice and his body language especially suggest that he's scared.) So, I feel as if he's either legitimately scared or he's delusional about something. This brought another scene to my mind.
In “Hand Me Down Ed” once the Boomerang leaves Sarah and she beats up Ed, he kind of concedes and says “Ah...the good ol' days.” He even seems somewhat fond of it. This made me think.
Throughout the show, we see Ed constantly putting his friends in danger and causing them harm without a second thought to what it was that he did, and even laughing at it from time to time. We write it off as him being the “idiot” or “dim-witted” character, but is it just that?
We know from clues in the show that Ed is very possibly abused and most definitely neglected by his parents. We also know that Ed has known Eddy for a long time, possibly long enough to have seen Bro and remember what he did to Eddy.
It's entirely possibly that with his low intelligence and home life, he simply sees abuse as absolutely normal and that's why it doesn't faze him. (And it certainly doesn't help when Eddy starts abusing him more and more as the show goes along. Eddy's actions go from comically hitting or flicking his “lackey” (three stooges style) to flat out beating Ed anytime he screws up or pisses him off.) It's not that Ed ENJOYS pain, on himself or anyone, in fact, a lot of the times, he seems to really hate it (or hate it at first, but then he just smiles and/or brushes it off (like with That's My Horse in “Wish You Were Ed” or when he seems legitimately hurt that Eddy hit him in “O-Ed Eleven”), but simply that he honestly believes that this is how things are supposed to be because it's all he's ever known and observed.

Ok, real life example (I cannot believe I have one... :/). I had a coworker, and she and I were talking one day about her marriage. (Well, she was talking; I was listening). She then told me about the first time he hit her, and when she did, she just kind of chuckled like it was fond memory. I was a more than a bit stunned and was just kind of “Honey....no...that...that isn't something to chuckle about...” (in my head). However, from my part, I was surprised at her reaction to it, not the actual fact that she was abused. That part didn't shock me at all. I'm from the “Bible Belt”, Christian ruled, “man is the head of the household”, stuck in the 1950s south, so any older woman I talk to or anyone married to an older man, I absolutely EXPECT to have been physically, sexually and/or at least severely emotionally abused by their spouse. Yeah, this all sounds left field, but it just goes to show you how normalized abuse can become.
This would explain Ed's behavior in “Ed Overboard” (one of THE most disturbing Ed, Edd, n Eddy episodes imo). In it, when Ed is being kidnapped, he has a disturbing fatalistic attitude about it. Kind of like “Oh well...this is going to end badly for me. But, oh well...maybe I'll learn a lesson from it...” It's a surprisingly solemn and very, very aware delivery for Ed as well. Also, in “Cleanliness is Next to Edness” when Ed makes the mistake of which day of the week it was, his reaction is to take out a fly swatter (or racket) and beat HIMSELF with it in punishment. (And it isn't the only time Ed is shown to cause himself bodily harm, and again, it doesn't faze him.) ((Also, now I'm thinking Ed's mom does the same to punish him. :/))
This would also explain his behavior in Big Picture Show. I know a lot of people get upset and call Ed an idiot for enjoying Eddy's pain. But, pay close attention to his body language. He doesn't look as if he's enjoying Eddy's pain, but rather like a sweet, tender family moment is happening. He seems to legitimately think that this type of behavior is normal between family members.



And I think this goes for ALL of the kids. When Bro first starts to torture Eddy, Edd, Kevin, Rolf, Nazz, and Jimmy are immediately horrified. Meanwhile, Ed is (at first) happy, Sarah has this happy and fascinated look on her face, and May and Marie try their best to keep Lee from getting involved. At first, I thought it was an age and maturity level thing. Nazz, Rolf, and Kevin are thought to be the “older kids”, and Edd is mature. (Jimmy is...well, Jimmy.) But, the more I think about it, what all those characters have in common is that they're all only children. All of the only children are horrified, while all of the kids with siblings seem to find nothing at all wrong with what's happening. (I'm actually surprised I never thought of it before, except in the case of the Kankers. I wondered why they were holding Lee back and assumed it was because they thought they shouldn't get involved in a sibling affair, especially considering they themselves squabble all of the time.) This is why it takes Bro beating on Double Dee (some random kid who is not related to him) for it to strike ALL of the kids that “Hey....this isn't just some guy rough housing with his little brother. Something is REALLY wrong here.” (Surprisingly, Ed seems to catch onto this long before Bro turns his sights to Edd.)
In this case, we see how normalized abuse is to really ALL of the kids in the Cul-De-Sac. I've always thought that Sarah's treatment of Ed was a reflection of how his parents treated him. She also didn't seemed at all fazed when Eddy was practically wetting himself when she and Jimmy dressed as Bro. Double Dee, for his part, seemed to always be horrified and flinch anytime Eddy would hit Ed, but by Season 5, it's such an everyday thing for him that barely reacts at all to it anymore. We all know that not only was Eddy abused by his brother, but that his brother actually taught him to abuse his “lackeys” (as we see in the training montage with Eddy and Jimmy and accept it as a mirror reflection of Bro training Eddy).

Not really related, but kinda...this morning on Book-O-Scams, we were talking about how Ed seems to be so seemingly out-of-characterly cruel to Eddy, but seems to take pity on Double Dee. KevinL also mentioned that the only person Ed seems to take any real sympathy of physical pain to is Sarah. This confused me too, but the more I think about it, I think it still boils down to Ed's understanding of things. Consider the following.
Sarah is no doubt spared punishment (or being punished often or harshly) by she and Ed's parents as she's obviously favored, not to mention “the baby” of the family. No doubt Ed got a speech about how he's the oldest and Sarah should be “protected” and he should never hit her because she's his baby sister (and a girl regardless). (I have no doubt Ed got this speech because I did myself...on many an occasion. No matter how much of a little shit my sister was being, I would get in trouble for retaliating at all....even if that retaliation was nothing more than telling her off. Ed probably gets it worse since he's a boy...). Sarah is also spared punishment by Eddy and....pretty much anyone who isn't a Kanker sister because she's Ed's sister and a little girl.
Double Dee is spared punishment by....pretty much everyone, honestly. As we've mentioned before on BOS, Double Dee is rarely physically punished by the rest of the Cul-De-Sac kids. And then there's Eddy. When Eddy's upset with Double Dee, what happens? He screams his head off, stuffs Edd in a jar or stuffs the jar (or something else) in Edd's mouth, or at worst, gives him a smack on the arm or a kick in the buns. When Eddy's upset with Ed, he immediately goes to beating the daylights out of him or something torturous like clamping his face with clothespins or cracking a knitting needle between his teeth. Eddy rarely (if ever) just all out assaults Double Dee. The rest of the kids rarely do it also.
Couldn't it be that in Ed's mind since everyone spares those particular two that Ed reasons that they're simply to be spared. Ed is nothing more than a simplistic version of the people around him.
Ed doesn't question things. He doesn't question WHY the Kankers are kidnapping him, or WHY Eddy treats him the way he does, or WHY the other kids treat he and his friends so badly, he just accepts it, smiles, and goes about his day.

Because that's just the way things are.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


((And now...here's something you don't care about! Very Happy
I first started this essay when reading Kevin's review of “Honor Thy Ed” because Ed's line is what sparked this thought in me. I was writing as a response to that review, but (of course) my computer shut down on me for no reason whatsoever and I lost my train of thought. Smile
I tried to rewrite it that day, but couldn't remember what I wanted to say, plus I had something to take care of, I think. So....this essay took me literally like 7 months to complete. I still can't remember EVERYTHING I wanted to say, so excuse me if this is jumbled or whatever.

That being said, I don't think Ed's dad is really abusive. He seems to be nonchalant about his family in general and doesn't seem to take much interest in their antics. I feel like Ed's fear of him stems from him (Ed's dad) at one time being the one to punish Ed. Buuuuuut, I'll go more into that when I write my headcanons for the parents.
Anyhow, that's all for me today. Wow....Ed is such a more complex character than people give him credit for!))
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Re: "Dad's Home... :)" Ed and the Normalization of Abuse

Post  Rafflesia on Wed 24 Dec - 23:18

What if "the good old days" and smiling in BPS are references to when Eddy's brother used to beat the shit out of Ed and Eddy when he still lived at home? Mostly because both of Ed's "mom will tell dad" lines end with him not getting beaten.
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Re: "Dad's Home... :)" Ed and the Normalization of Abuse

Post  CyanideFilledCandy on Thu 25 Dec - 2:03

Interesting! I think it's definitely possible that Bro abused Ed behind closed doors as well.

I feel like at one point Ed's dad was the main disciplinary of the family, and though now he's pretty inactive, Ed still holds some fear of him from the past.
Could be both scenarios. Or who knows? Maybe Ed's dad actually reminds him of Bro!
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Re: "Dad's Home... :)" Ed and the Normalization of Abuse

Post  IceyL on Mon 26 Jan - 23:19

I don't know if Eddy's Bro beat up Ed and Eddy, because they were really young when Bro left home. BUT it could be possible, perhaps if it did that could be one of the reasons Bro was kicked out/moved.  I could see Ed's parents being "whatever" about things but not Eddy's parents, I could see his parents being mama and papa bears and freak out on Bro.

As you were saying I couldn't see Ed's dad caring enough to abuse him.  Ed's more afraid of his mom whom serves out his punishments courtesy of Sarah.

I think Double D's parents would never be physically abusive (unless they reached a certain level of anger/insanity after a majorly stressful event, but that could happen to anyone).  They are however mentally abusive without really knowing it.  They would push him to strive for perfection, mainly because they want a son who is well rounded and they want the best for him.  However this will give him a complex and trigger intense anxiety for him.
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